ParaNorman (2012)

Animation, Adventure, Comedy, Family, Fantasy
Kodi Smit-McPhee, Anna Kendrick, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Tucker Albrizzi
A misunderstood boy takes on ghosts, zombies and grown-ups to save his town from a centuries-old curse.
Beautifully animated and solidly scripted, ParaNorman will entertain (and frighten) older children while providing surprisingly thoughtful fare for their parents.
  • Focus Features Company:
  • PG Rated:
  • IMDB link IMDB:
  • 17 Aug 2012 Released:
  • 27 Nov 2012 DVD Release:
  • $56.0M Box office:

All subtitles:



Trailer:

A different kind of animated movie and approach. I really liked it!8/10
This was a rather surprising movie. It's unlike any other modern
animated movie and picks a new sort of approach, that should work
entertaining for both adults and kids.

There is plenty of 'simple' stuff to enjoy for young kids in this movie
but also the adults shall have no complaints about it. Throughout the
years animated movies often had both stuff for both kids and adults to
enjoy in this movie but I feel that the line dividing the two different
forms of entertainment is getting more and more blurry. Instead the two
things more often get effectively combined, with as a result more and
more movies get released that aren't being too childish for adults or
too mature for little kids. It's being perfect entertainment for just
about everybody!

I do admit though that I was a bit surprised to see how horror
orientated this movie was. Make no mistake about it, this is a horror
movie. It might be a bit frightening for some children but obviously
most shall be perfectly capable of handling it. Fantasy and movies can
be a great outlet and also stimulant for children's imagination, this
also includes horror orientated stuff. After all, most kids are of
course perfectly capable of making a distinction between real stuff and
fantasy.

And I do applaud this movie for not being overly fluffy or careful and
protective toward children. Not that that this is being a completely
dark, or scary, depressing movie to watch but overall it's being a tad
bit more dark and daring than just an average animated movie.

It's really having a style and approach of its own, which just doesn't
goes for its story or the fact that this is being a more genuine horror
flick but also really for its comedy and characters. The characters all
feel rich and very much alive (yes, even the dead characters!) and the
humor is more clever and often dialog orientated, as opposed to having
characters jumping around and falling and bumping into stuff. In that
regard this movie also feels far more mature than just the average
genre attempt.

And another important aspect about an animated movie; it's a really
good looking one! It's using stop-motion techniques and it shows that
this genre is far from outdated or dead. It's really something that
gives the movie an unique look and feel. I don't know, it's perhaps
pleasant that it's being something that allows the movie to feel 'fake'
and true exaggerated fantasy-like, as opposed to CG animated movies,
that are getting more and more smooth and realistic to watch.

It's also a movie with a great underlying message in it, that tells you
it's OK to be different and there is nothing weird or wrong about it
and you shouldn't just judge a book on its cover. It's still too bad
this message was lost on some people and I'm talking about those who
had a problem with its ending. It was perfectly suitable and fitted
perfectly into what this entire movie was trying to tell you for the
first hour and a half.

A surprisingly good movie in about every regard, that above all things
is being perfectly fun and entertaining to watch!

8/10

Another Animated Hit From The Makers Of Coraline!9/10
Focus Features has only had two animated films up to this point; the beautifully crafted, but story-lacking 9, and of course the gorgeous and creepy Coraline. Now, this studio's third animated film gives us both a funny and creepy story about a town under siege by zombies and an ancient witch's curse. It's one of the best movies of the late summer, and should easily compete for at the Academy Awards for Best Animated Film.

The film in itself is split into two sections. The first shows Norman, an out-of-place kid in a small New England town who has the ability to talk to ghosts. Since he has no real friends, he doesn't mind the undead. He's picked on at school for being different, and we see that whenever another person, like the geek Neil, wants to be friends with him, he tries to push them away. Norman's older sister, and Neil's older brother are the stereotypical cheerleader and football jock, and they torment Norman as well. And then we have the school bully; every film seems to have them these days.

The second part of the film sees Norman become an unlikely hero after a witch's curse raises the dead back to life and all chaos breaks loose. There are some creepy moments, but the characters are always cracking off one-liners according to the situation, so it kept the film funny as well as adrenaline pumping. The only thing I didn't like about the story was the climax. It's not that I didn't like it, it's just that it felt sort of phoned in. Overall, the voice acting is great, the animation is superb as always, and the 3D remarkably works well. I was expecting a great movie, and I got it with this film. It may be a little too scary for kids under the age of 10, but everyone else should have a blast. I hope this film does well, and I can't wait to see what Focus Feature's next big animated project will be.

Final Verdict: 9/10
Easily One of the Best Movies I've Seen This Year9/10
I came into ParaNorman with a sense of cautious optimism. I absolutely adore stop motion animation, and I genuinely fell in love with Coraline, LAIKA's previous effort, but the trailers for the film didn't capture my interest in the story in the way I hoped they would and this film also didn't have the benefit of being helmed by the brilliant Henry Selick (Nightmare Before Christmas, James and the Giant Peach, Coraline). That being said, I am extremely happy to report that ParaNorman absolutely delivers on every level you could hope for.

ParaNorman tells a story about a young boy named Norman who has the unusual ability to see and talk to the dead, an ability which has led him to be ostracized by the other members of his community, including his own family. The New England town in which he lives is famous for a historic witch execution, along with the legend of a curse that the witch put upon those who sentenced her to death. It turns out that the legend of the curse is true, and that Norman, with his ability to talk to the dead, is the only one who can prevent the curse from raising the dead. Unfortunately, Norman is unable to act fast enough and the Witch's curse begins to wreak havoc on the town.

ParaNorman is a film with many strengths. Stop motion animation is always a beautiful and fascinating process, and with new technological advances the filmmakers have been able to bring it to a level of detail and expression that are simply astounding. While the scope of the story may be smaller than something like Coraline or Nightmare Before Christmas, the scale of the stop motion sets for this town are truly incredible. The film absolutely immerses you in this world that feels like a living, breathing, place. As beautiful as the animation in Brave was, ParaNorman is easily the most visually impressive film I have seen this year.

As beautiful as the film is, it never falls into the trap of so many other animated films by simply being visual spectacle with no narrative soul. The story of the film is fun, intelligent, and heartfelt, and is supported by a great cast of characters. The odd kid who is misunderstood is a common trope in kids' movies, but what makes Norman stand out is that he's never mopey about it. He is ostracized, bullied, and rejected, but he's come to a kind of acceptance about the whole thing. He's certainly not happy about it, but at this point he's not trying to fit in, he's really just trying to keep his head down and get through the daily grind. This is part of what makes his relationship with the other characters in the film work so well. For instance Neil genuinely accepts Norman for who he is and it's obvious that this throws Norman for a loop and he doesn't really know how to interact with someone who "gets him." This is never spoken, but it plays out naturally through the performances of the characters.

As the narrative progresses it takes some really interesting turns, and at times is genuinely surprising and emotional. Without spoiling anything, I'll just say that a large part of the narrative revolves around assumptions and misunderstanding, and it brilliantly uses the audience's assumptions and expectations about the genre and its conventions against them.

It's also worth mentioning that this is one of the rare films which decidedly benefits from the addition of 3D. There's some fun play with perspective, and being able to see the dimension that exists in these sets adds a lot to the experience.

I genuinely loved ParaNorman and it's easily one of my favorite films this year. It's not a movie for everyone, but if any of the trailers gave you even a glimmer of interest I would definitely recommend checking this one out. LAIKA is certainly beginning to make a name for themselves in the animation scene and I'm really looking forward to whatever their next project will be. I think I still prefer Coraline which definitely benefited from the combination of Neil Gaiman's fantastic story and Henry Selick's experienced hand, but ParaNorman is a truly fantastic film and it's definitely worth a look.

A-
Remarkably Endearing10/10
ParaNorman looks like a throwback to the good old campy stop-motion animated films. The concept may not sound so original, but the designs and the themes of the story are the main appeal here. The movie is fun and wonderful to look at. While it goes through a crazy adventure comedy, there is a surprising twist that made this so endearing. It is something that we don't usually see in an animated film, but because of that we intend to love it. ParaNorman is funny, creepy, smart, and affecting.

ParaNorman is oddly different as an animated family film. Unlike the others, this one has a dark and mature context, but by sentimental means. Although the story is about spirits and zombies, the true core of this film is the emotion and the message that it is trying to show us. There's a couple of moments that are quite affecting. Usually is when Norman is being alone in his gloomy life. In other parts, the film is ought to be funny. The comedy sometimes feel way apart from the drama, but they still work anyway.

The stop-motion animation indeed looks marvelous. These little figures really brought themselves to life as their voice actors provide their personalities. The campiest part, the zombies, are quite impressive to look at. It's undeniably solid. The music score sure knows which part is suppose to be gloomy, campy, or just ordinary. It's a great effect to the scenes and you'll love it. The rest of the movie is all ridiculous and fun little set pieces that are entertaining enough to enjoy.

ParaNorman is surprisingly strong. The depth of the story made this movie so special. It's still filled with comedy and lightheartedness. In the end, it turns out to be endearing. It's a rare kind of family film that is brave to show what it wanted to show. It might be hard for some to understand its sentiment, but if there's anything else why anyone would like this film then it's because of its majestic animation. ParaNorman is simply great and it's easy enough to recommend.
Packed with wit, imagination and thoughtfulness, this lovingly rendered stop-motion animation is one of the best of the year8/10
A word of caution for parents with younger tots – 'Paranorman' might
not go down too well for the faint of heart. But its deliberately
mature- skewing approach is also the reason why this is one of the most
unique animated movies we've seen this year, the latest feat of
stop-motion animation from the same Laika studio artists who had
conjured up the similarly bewitching 'Coraline'.

Both have at their heart titular characters who are outcasts in their
social circle. For Norman, his ability to see ghosts have made him a
pariah among his schoolmates – and the worst of the lot is a
pea-brained nose-picking bully named Alvin (Christopher Mintz-Plasse).
Home is not much better. His dad (Jeff Garlin) is none too pleased he
claims to be speaking to his dead grandmother, his mother (Leslie Mann)
dismisses it as a phase, and his bimbotic teenage sister Courtney (Anna
Kendrick) just can't be bothered.

The film's writer is Chris Butler - a storyboard artist who honed his
skills on Tim Burton's 'Corpse Bride' and Henry Selick's 'Coraline' -
and his experience with the contemporaries in quirky animation has
served him well in creating a lovable adolescent misfit in Norman.
Before Norman is even confronted with the challenge you know will turn
him into the unlikely hero, you've already fallen in love with this
sweet unassuming kid with the rectangular quizzical eyebrows and a head
of vertical brown hair.

Instead of sugar-coating the reality of Norman's social life, Butler
states the truth as it is – 'You can't stop bullying – it's part of
human nature," says Norman's chubby buddy Neil (Tucker Albrizzi),
similarly ostracised in school on account of his size. The honesty is
refreshing, and so is the plot that follows, involving a 300-year old
witch's curse that invokes half-dozen zombies to rise from their graves
and terrorise the local townsfolk of Blithe's Hollow.

A twist late into the tale on the witch's identity makes this an
unexpectedly moving and thoughtful parable on acceptance and empathy,
two morals which tie in beautifully with Norman's own story of
rejection. Along the way to the surprisingly intense finale, Butler and
his co-director Sam Fell inject a veritable sense of fun into the
proceedings which unfold like a roller-coaster ride into a haunted
house of terrors, made all the more enjoyable by Norman's motley crew
comprising of Alvin, Courtney, Neil and Neil's jockish older brother
Mitch (Casey Affleck).

While distracting the younger ones with a cornucopia of visual gags,
Butler packs bits of surprises for the adults in the audience. You'll
chuckle along with the bits of deadpan humour – "Do you think they'll
eat our brains?" Alvin screams in fear. "Yeah, you'll be safe," Norman
replies – as well as the 'blink and you'll miss' tributes to horror
classics from 'Halloween' to 'Friday the 13th'. These will be lost on
the kids, but what parents should really take time to explain is
Butler's message of embracing those who are different from us, a lesson
all too precious in today's increasingly xenophobic world.

The same attention to story and character has also gone into the
lovingly-detailed animation – while at first sight cruder looking than
today's more commonly seen computer-generated visuals, the distinctive
stop-motion rendering is nothing short of gorgeous, and one truly
marvels at the amount of effort that has gone into the individual
action-oriented sequences that have so much going on at the same time.
The technique has also allowed the animators to sculpt finer detail
into each of the characters, which come to life in a certain pop-up
fashion that fits perfectly in 3D.

Using the traditional narrative of a misfit turned unlikely hero,
'Paranorman' weaves a fantastically dazzling, consistently engaging and
surprisingly touching story that qualifies it as one of the most
original and certainly one of the best animated movies of the year.
Yes, it isn't as family-friendly as something you might expect from the
usual Disney or Dreamworks fare, but you'll appreciate the level of
maturity and wit that has gone into this impressive stop-motion
animation.